A NEW initiative has been launched by police in Redditch and Bromsgrove to tackle hate crime.
Hate crime covers everything from disability, alternative lifestyle or culture, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender and can extend to every other sort of crime if there is an element of hate involved – like a robbery which might have resulted in a racial slur.
The problem for police is that the reporting of hate crime could be considerably less than the reality of it.
“We are aware that the reporting of hate crime is possibly less than the situation out there,” said Insp Darren Webster, Redditch’s top officer who is driving the initiative in north Worcestershire.
“We want to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and how it can be reported, with confidence, to the police.”
The bare statistics make shocking reading, with a total 165 cases reported in 2014/15 of which 127 were of a racial nature – an increase of 21 over the year before.
In all 18 were to do with sexual orientation, four with transgender, six with religion/faith, four with lifestyle/culture and six with disability.
Insp Webster, who sits on the LGBT Forum for Worcestershire and the Hate Incident Partnership for the north of the county, accepts that by encouraging more people to report hate crime those statistics are likely to get worse.
“People who are victims of hate crime may not consider the police see it as a crime, but we want people to tell us, we want to know the size of the problem.
“It’s about education and the acceptance of people as they are. We want people to have the confidence to come forward and tell us and not suffer in silence.”
He added that, given the evidence, the perpetrators of hate crime would be prosecuted.